So many more of us, so many less fatalities

By 2 January, 2014 60

ACT Policing has recorded a single digit road toll of seven in 2013 making it the second lowest annual road toll since 1959.

Traffic Operations Officer in Charge, Station Sergeant Rod Anderson said achieving the second lowest road toll in over half a century was an indication of changing attitudes in Canberra drivers to road safety.

“Any fatality on our roads is one too many and as a community we should always aim to be fatality free,” Sergeant Anderson said.

“However, this is a noticeable improvement on the 12 deaths that occurred on our roads in 2012.”

“So many factors contributed to last year’s low road toll, including increased driver awareness, increased police patrols targeting traffic law enforcement, joint ACT Government and ACT Policing road safety campaigns and the outstanding work that our ambulance services do at the scene of road collisions.”

“There is no magic wand for preventing tragic deaths on our roads. At the end of the day it all comes down to driver attitudes behind the wheel.”

Sergeant Anderson said police would continue to be out in force during the holiday season detecting and removing drivers engaging in risky behaviour such as speeding, drink and drug driving, using mobile phones and not wearing seatbelts.

“Everyone has the right to travel on the roads safely, ACT Policing will continue its strong enforcement of our road laws, and will accept no excuses for any actions which jeopardise other people’s lives,” Sergeant Anderson said.

fatalities

[Courtesy ACT Policing]

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60 Responses to So many more of us, so many less fatalities
#1
IrishPete1:15 am, 03 Jan 14

Let’s see what he missed – improved safety standards in vehicles, speed limits (and average speeds through increased congestion) reducng gradually.

I doubt the reduction from 2012 to 2013 is statistically significant,or statistically robust, although the longer term trend possibly is so, especially when taken against rising population.

However, when there is inevitably an increase one year again, willl this policeman be around to say “yes, it’s partly the fault of the police, just like we took the partial credit when there was a decrease”? No, I didn’t think so. So excuse me for treating his statement with a big dose of salt.

And of course, the crap driving by ACT drivers on NSW roads must get an honourable mention. Learn what those orange lights on your car’s corners are for. Learn how to drive around proper roundabouts with proper rules (not the idiotic rules of many ACT ones). And learn that the king’s Highway is not your personal racetrack to your holiday house.

IP

#2
gooterz2:48 am, 03 Jan 14

Fatalities are one thing what about the number of accidents? People left with permanent injury and worst of all number of times someone parked badly.

#3
rosscoact6:53 am, 03 Jan 14

Yes, small sample size is a problem here, the difference is a couple of incidents which do or don’t happen.

However, isn’t the national total the lowest in 90 years?

#4
WillowJim8:11 am, 03 Jan 14

“So many more of us, so fewer fatalities”

#pethate

#5
johnboy9:08 am, 03 Jan 14

Cars are much safer now, and ambulances can do more than scrape the meat off the road.

#6
buzz8199:10 am, 03 Jan 14

IrishPete said :

Let’s see what he missed – improved safety standards in vehicles, speed limits (and average speeds through increased congestion) reducng gradually.

I doubt the reduction from 2012 to 2013 is statistically significant,or statistically robust, although the longer term trend possibly is so, especially when taken against rising population.

However, when there is inevitably an increase one year again, willl this policeman be around to say “yes, it’s partly the fault of the police, just like we took the partial credit when there was a decrease”? No, I didn’t think so. So excuse me for treating his statement with a big dose of salt.

And of course, the crap driving by ACT drivers on NSW roads must get an honourable mention. Learn what those orange lights on your car’s corners are for. Learn how to drive around proper roundabouts with proper rules (not the idiotic rules of many ACT ones). And learn that the king’s Highway is not your personal racetrack to your holiday house.

IP

Like all you comments I take it with a grain of salt.

There is one reason and one reason only the road toll is so low, there were not as many multiple fatality collisions.

Increased vehicle safety standards, what rubbish? They didn’t help last year and the roads haven’t changed enough to say that is what did it.

#7
Tooks9:10 am, 03 Jan 14

I doubt driver behaviour has changed one iota since, say, 2005. Improved safety features and roads would be the main factors.

#8
switch9:13 am, 03 Jan 14

WillowJim said :

“So many more of us, so fewer fatalities”

#pethate

“So many more of us, but fewer fatalities”

#9
JC9:19 am, 03 Jan 14

I say it every year, but the one thing that people like the coppers and pollies seem to conveniently forget is the size of the ACT makes it very hard to read anything meaningful into year by year road stats. Statistically the sample is so small that we can see major variations for no reason what so ever, 2005 for example, or indeed 2011 and 2013.

For example lets say there was one more accident last year that killed all 5 occupants of the car, and the road toll equalled the year before, all from 1 single accident. Heaven help us if we ever had a Kempsy style bus accident where 35 were killed in one single accident.

For such a small sample size what is more important is the trend over a number of years. That trend based on the figures from 2000 provided above seems to be flat to trending slightly down though. Another 20 years of figures would help even more to draw any conclusions. They then of course should be compared to the national figures to see if they are following them or varying.

#10
KB19719:22 am, 03 Jan 14

Seat belts have been the single biggest safety advance since 1959. There was a massive decrease in road deaths when they were introduced.

Everything else that has led us to the modern motor car has been incremental.

#11
johnboy9:38 am, 03 Jan 14

Look fatalities are a bloody stupid KPI at the best of times.

Accidents requiring hospitalisation would be much more interesting and useful, even then the nature of our mendacious public service is such that would be dangerous as someone trying to make their numbers look good for bonus time would start conniving to deny hospital care.

Management by KPI is always awful.

One would think after crappy application of a KPI murdered thousands of British Sailors at the Battle of Jutland and nearly lost the whole First World War in an afternoon we’d have learnt something (Battle Cruisers based away from proper firing ranges were judging crews entirely on rate of fire which lead to unsafe practices such as jamming open anti flash doors from turrets to magazines which in turn lead to widespread tragedy when the enemy started shooting back)

#12
magiccar99:59 am, 03 Jan 14

“increased police patrols targeting traffic law enforcement…”

Cool, based on these comments I should expect to see more than 3 speed vans, 1 RBT station, and 2 patrol cars this year.

Just the same as the double demerit periods, they tout the increased presence on the roads, yet I fail to see a single marked (or even unmarked) car each time.

#13
switch10:19 am, 03 Jan 14

magiccar9 said :

“increased police patrols targeting traffic law enforcement…”

Cool, based on these comments I should expect to see more than 3 speed vans, 1 RBT station, and 2 patrol cars this year.

Just the same as the double demerit periods, they tout the increased presence on the roads, yet I fail to see a single marked (or even unmarked) car each time.

I certainly saw more cops to/from/in Sydney between Xmas and NYE than usual, last week.

#14
HiddenDragon11:00 am, 03 Jan 14

This is relatively good news – but has there been a commensurate reduction in non-fatal accidents? and is there analysis which casts light on the accident reduction benefits (or not) of measures such as the point-to-point speed cameras?

#15
KB197111:07 am, 03 Jan 14

johnboy said :

Look fatalities are a bloody stupid KPI at the best of times.

Accidents requiring hospitalisation would be much more interesting and useful, even then the nature of our mendacious public service is such that would be dangerous as someone trying to make their numbers look good for bonus time would start conniving to deny hospital care.

Management by KPI is always awful.

One would think after crappy application of a KPI murdered thousands of British Sailors at the Battle of Jutland and nearly lost the whole First World War in an afternoon we’d have learnt something (Battle Cruisers based away from proper firing ranges were judging crews entirely on rate of fire which lead to unsafe practices such as jamming open anti flash doors from turrets to magazines which in turn lead to widespread tragedy when the enemy started shooting back)

The thing with that is no one really records those statistics. The biggest problem is that injuries, permanent or otherwise accrued in road accidents are extremely broad and often difficult to attribute to an accident. A death is cut and dried to a certain extent with the exception being health reasons such as heart attacks ect.

The other thing, there is no national database for road accidents. To gather any statistical evidence from all the hospitals and enforcement agencies around the country would be an insurmountable job.

The Department of Infrastructure has some good information on accident statistics and road safety in motor vehicles:
http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/

#16
montana11:13 am, 03 Jan 14

how many of those fatalities were cyclists?

#17
c_c™11:14 am, 03 Jan 14

johnboy said :

Cars are much safer now, and ambulances can do more than scrape the meat off the road.

Those are the two big things, and when you look at which vehicle had the worse outcome for the occupants, it’s often the older one in news reports. Now that ESC is becoming standard, years overdue, it will be interesting to see a further effect no doubt on the road toll. Says a lot that governments were to cowardly to mandate ESC in the ADR for cars, but are happy to revenue raise and brag about KPIs.

I wonder what was the total number of collisions in the ACT and the number of collision injuries? Insurers should have some data on that and the Police aren’t bragging about it obviously, yet those figures would say more about road safety than fatalities.

#18
carnardly12:04 pm, 03 Jan 14

It’s paramedics that scrape the bits off the road, not the ambulances. They’re usually just parked at the scene… :-)

#19
KB19711:16 pm, 03 Jan 14

c_c™ said :

johnboy said :

Cars are much safer now, and ambulances can do more than scrape the meat off the road.

Says a lot that governments were to cowardly to mandate ESC in the ADR for cars, but are happy to revenue raise and brag about KPIs.
.

You really need to stick to subjects that you know something about, for this you have no idea.

#20
astrojax1:24 pm, 03 Jan 14

montana said :

how many of those fatalities were cyclists?

probably a few of them – oh, at the time of the collision..?

don’t police record all instances of motor vehicle collisions that occasion injury? i am sure they used to be required to do so – where are these figures? as noted above, we also need to determine not just the number of deaths / injuries, but the number of instances of collision occasioning these (to account for multiple death / injury incidents).

of course, always going to be harder to also weed out from such figures deliberate acts of self harm, though necessary to look sensibly at the longitudinal impact of safety and awareness campaigns and measures.

#21
KB19711:39 pm, 03 Jan 14

astrojax said :

montana said :

how many of those fatalities were cyclists?

probably a few of them – oh, at the time of the collision..?

don’t police record all instances of motor vehicle collisions that occasion injury? i am sure they used to be required to do so – where are these figures? as noted above, we also need to determine not just the number of deaths / injuries, but the number of instances of collision occasioning these (to account for multiple death / injury incidents).

of course, always going to be harder to also weed out from such figures deliberate acts of self harm, though necessary to look sensibly at the longitudinal impact of safety and awareness campaigns and measures.

The BITRE (part of the link I posted above) have certain statistics including cyclists, you will have to look for yourself though:

http://www.bitre.gov.au/statistics/safety/index.aspx

Interestingly, there now is a report on serious injury from 99-2011, this is a recent document and may answer johnboys question..

#22
Deref2:34 pm, 03 Jan 14

c_c™ said :

Now that ESC is becoming standard…

Please forgive my iggerunce. What’s ESC?

#23
MrBigEars2:41 pm, 03 Jan 14

KB1971 said :

Interestingly, there now is a report on serious injury from 99-2011, this is a recent document and may answer johnboys question..

http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129544396

I’m not sure if it’s this one. I skimmed it, it said hospitalisation rate (x per 100 000) for “transport” showed no (discernible) trend over the time period.

#24
KB19713:43 pm, 03 Jan 14

Deref said :

c_c™ said :

Now that ESC is becoming standard…

Please forgive my iggerunce. What’s ESC?

Electronic Stability Control. Keeps the car stable by using the brakes to bring it back in line with little driver input.

I am in two minds about it. I have it on one car (a 4WD) and not on another (a Commodore). Yep, its awesome on the 4WD but it does lull you into a false sense of security. I can travel way faster on dirt roads than I could previously which can in turn make things worse when it eventually all goes wrong. When I drive my brother in laws 4WD without it things catch me out that don’t in my car because I am not used to it.

On wet tar roads? Worth every sent.

I actually think it takes away from drivers skills but I guess most people don’t learn car control before they get their licenses. That is the biggest flaw in the system.

On the road safey front, I don’t think we can get much safer. There is only so much a car manufacturer can do to protect the meat inside the can when it all goes wrong.

#25
KB19713:49 pm, 03 Jan 14

MrBigEars said :

KB1971 said :

Interestingly, there now is a report on serious injury from 99-2011, this is a recent document and may answer johnboys question..

http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129544396

I’m not sure if it’s this one. I skimmed it, it said hospitalisation rate (x per 100 000) for “transport” showed no (discernible) trend over the time period.

Which is interesting because pretty well all safety advances in cars are for low speed accidents which were killing people unnecessarily. Side airbags are an example of this with your head so close to the B Pillar it is so easy to be killed at speeds of 30-40km/h, they have made a difference.

I have not had time to look at it today but I might when I get back to work.

#26
c_c™5:13 pm, 03 Jan 14

KB1971 said :

Deref said :

c_c™ said :

Now that ESC is becoming standard…

Please forgive my iggerunce. What’s ESC?

Electronic Stability Control. Keeps the car stable by using the brakes to bring it back in line with little driver input.

I am in two minds about it. I have it on one car (a 4WD) and not on another (a Commodore). Yep, its awesome on the 4WD but it does lull you into a false sense of security. I can travel way faster on dirt roads than I could previously which can in turn make things worse when it eventually all goes wrong. When I drive my brother in laws 4WD without it things catch me out that don’t in my car because I am not used to it.

On wet tar roads? Worth every sent.

I actually think it takes away from drivers skills but I guess most people don’t learn car control before they get their licenses. That is the biggest flaw in the system.

On the road safey front, I don’t think we can get much safer. There is only so much a car manufacturer can do to protect the meat inside the can when it all goes wrong.

The presence of ESC shouldn’t be prompting a driver to drive any differently. It’s not there to enable faster speeds, and the threshold for its operation is in my experience very high. 99% of the time it’s not doing anything. It’s that 1% of the time when it makes the difference, and in 5 years of driving a car with ESC, I’ve triggered it only once, on loose gravel on the Mt Franklin Rd doing under the speed limit.

#27
IrishPete6:25 pm, 03 Jan 14

buzz819 said :

IrishPete said :

Let’s see what he missed – improved safety standards in vehicles, speed limits (and average speeds through increased congestion) reducng gradually.

I doubt the reduction from 2012 to 2013 is statistically significant,or statistically robust, although the longer term trend possibly is so, especially when taken against rising population.

However, when there is inevitably an increase one year again, willl this policeman be around to say “yes, it’s partly the fault of the police, just like we took the partial credit when there was a decrease”? No, I didn’t think so. So excuse me for treating his statement with a big dose of salt.

And of course, the crap driving by ACT drivers on NSW roads must get an honourable mention. Learn what those orange lights on your car’s corners are for. Learn how to drive around proper roundabouts with proper rules (not the idiotic rules of many ACT ones). And learn that the king’s Highway is not your personal racetrack to your holiday house.

IP

Like all you comments I take it with a grain of salt.

There is one reason and one reason only the road toll is so low, there were not as many multiple fatality collisions.

Increased vehicle safety standards, what rubbish? They didn’t help last year and the roads haven’t changed enough to say that is what did it.

Odd then that everyone else is agreeing with me. ou also have misunderstood my point – I put last year’s reduction down to the small numbers, natural fluctuations, and I was referring to the possibility of a much less dramatic downward trend over the decade or so for which figures were presented.

Of course there’s only a marginal difference in vehicle safety for cars built in 2012 compared to those built to 2013. But a car’s average life is about 10 years (I think, maybe longer). So each year a 10yo car is taken off the road and replaced with a brand new one, on average. That’s a significant improvement in safety given things like air bags, ESC, anti-lock brakes and even really passive safety like improved crumple zones.

It is one of the reasons many countries adopted the policy of a big allowance for ditching an old car and buying a new one – that and fuel economy/emissions and general retail support. But I think Godwin Gretch scotched that policy one for Australia. (I have no opinion on whether it was a good idea or not.)

I’ve also had a scan of the AIHW report and it does seem to say that the number of hospitalisations for transport accidents is stable.

But of course “transport” is broader than just cars, and NSW has seen a large increase in cyclist and motorbike fatalities last year (some, but not all, of which would have involved cars – but car safety features will probably not have much direct effect on motorbike and cyclist fatalities even for the proportion involving cars). I would also expect the crackdown on trucks to have a major effect, as they are hugely overrepresented in fatalities (not in the ACT, but nationally).

IP

#28
agent_clone7:02 pm, 03 Jan 14

KB1971 said :

MrBigEars said :

KB1971 said :

Interestingly, there now is a report on serious injury from 99-2011, this is a recent document and may answer johnboys question..

http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129544396

I’m not sure if it’s this one. I skimmed it, it said hospitalisation rate (x per 100 000) for “transport” showed no (discernible) trend over the time period.

Which is interesting because pretty well all safety advances in cars are for low speed accidents which were killing people unnecessarily. Side airbags are an example of this with your head so close to the B Pillar it is so easy to be killed at speeds of 30-40km/h, they have made a difference.

I have not had time to look at it today but I might when I get back to work.

The ABS seems to think there are more vehicles per 1000 people on the road since 2008. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/9309.0/ . I was unable to find the statistics for earlier than that. They are no doubt there but would require more effort to find.

They also think that deaths (I know we want accidents) per registered vehicle/popuation has been going down fairly steadily http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1301.0~2012~Main%20Features~Accidents,%20injuries%20and%20fatalities~189

#29
gooterz8:04 pm, 03 Jan 14

http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=AUD&to=USD&view=10Y

More likely the cost of new cars is inductive to the tend. When the aud is high the death toll goes down after like 1-2 year delay

#30
Holden Caulfield9:01 pm, 03 Jan 14

KB1971 said :

I actually think it takes away from drivers skills but I guess most people don’t learn car control before they get their licenses. That is the biggest flaw in the system.

A driver has to be aware they have such a system as ESC before they can start driving to try and take advantage of it.

Don’t underestimate the total ignorance of the average motorist.

I was doing a manufacturer supported/invited driver training session a few years back, where new or soon to be owners were invited out to Sutton to learn and experience how things like ESC and ABS work. Almost all of the participants had no idea what ABS or ESC were or what they are supposed to do.

I was staggered at how little people knew about the $60K+ machines they were purchasing. They didn’t look any futher than the badge it seemed.

So while I can see your point about ESC taking away from driver skills I still maintain you have to know it exists and what its function is before you can alter your driving style accordingly.

With that said, I’ve experienced ESC in controlled environments such as Sutton several times and on the skid pan the difference between ESC and no ESC is staggering. The systems are so quick and so effective at helping maintain control and mostly do this way beyond the comprehension and ability of pretty much all drivers.

Remember too that ESC works in conjunction with a car’s traction control system and seeing an ESC light activate on your dash display doesn’t necessrily mean the full ESC system is activating, it may *only* be the traction control.

In wet weather, in my experience, it’s not that hard to get the systems to activate. In my old neck of the woods in O’Connor there were a couple of roads off Macarthur Ave that had such poor grip that taking the corners even at very low speed would be enough to trigger ESC.

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